preventative workplace wellness

Health Outcomes Show Need for Increased Investment in Preventative Health Care: JAMA

A well-run workplace wellness program can play a key role in providing preventative health awareness and care — helping improve employee and and reduce a business’ overall health costs.

A new, extensive report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has concluded: “Differences in health outcomes and drivers of morbidity and mortality at the state level indicate the need for greater investment in preventive and medical care across the life course.”

The report is titled “The State of US Health, 1990-2016:┬áBurden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Among US States.” The study sought to “use the results of the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) to report trends in the burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors at the state level from 1990 to 2016.”

As background, the study notes:

  • “Several studies have shown large variations in risk factors by state and county, and these variations have contributed to differences in health outcomes.”
  • “In the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) US Burden of Disease report, the following risk factors were reported as the main causes associated with US morbidity and mortality (percent contributed to total disability-adjusted life-years [DALYs] in 2010): poor diet (14%), smoking (11%), high blood pressure (8%), and obesity (11%).”
  • “The findings of GBD 2016 indicate that while the United States overall is experiencing improvements in health outcomes, the patterns of health burden at the state level vary across geography.”

Among the important finding from the study: Many of the health risk factors can be addressed as part of a well-run workplace wellness program. For example:

  • “This study shows that high BMI, smoking, and high fasting plasma glucose are the 3 most important risk factors in the United States, and that although smoking is decreasing, BMI and fasting plasma glucose levels are steadily increasing.”
  • “These 2 risk factors pose unique challenges in the United States given that unabated, they have the potential to change the health trajectory for individuals in many states.”
  • “Levels of overweight and obesity increased during the study period. US residents need to do more to maintain their weight or reduce it, when needed, as well as access systems to support these intentions.”
  • “Although physical activity increased during the study period, the levels of increase were not enough to control weight gain.”
  • “Physical inactivity is a risk factor for many diseases, but increasing activity is not enough on its own to reduce weight or prevent weight gain.”
  • “Obesity is associated with increased diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some neoplasms, and poor health-related quality of life.”

The study calls “for renewed efforts to control weight gain at the community level.” Tomorrow we’ll address strategies that the study highlights to address some of these concerns.